Friday, October 12, 2007

TD Ameritrade Courtesy Fill Notifications

On my original Ameritrade account, there is an option to receive fill notifications. For those not familiar with the term, a "courtesy fill notification" is notice from the broker that one of your stock orders has gone through. This can be either by Email, phone, or fax, and there is no extra charge for this service. The choice to select a fill notification is found under "Communications" on the "General" tab of the "My Profile" page. And you can get to "My Profile" by selecting "Portfolio & Accounts". In my case, I have the broker call me (through their automated phone system) whenever a trade has been executed. There was a time when a real person would call to notify you of your trade, but that seem like a thing of the past now.

I think that this is a useful feature on my Ameritrade account, but I don't see this same option in the TD Ameritrade accounts that were converted over from TD Waterhouse. I am assuming that you cannot get automatic fill notifications if you had a Waterhouse account. Has anybody else been able to setup courtesy fill notifications from their former Waterhouse account?


Monday, October 8, 2007

Countrywide Bank Update

I have two updates to my post about Countrywide Bank. First of all Countrywide has increased it SavingsLink interest rate to 5.5%, with a $10,000 minimum account balance. Considering that many Certificates of Deposits (CDs) don't even pay that much, this interest rate is quite impressive.

I mentioned that SavingsLink accounts have to be linked to a savings or checking account at another financial institution for you to access your money. At the time of my post, Countrywide only allowed one linked account at a time. Furthermore, the process of linking and unlinking accounts is cumbersome. So, the other update is that recently received an Email from Countrywide saying that they've increased the number of external linked accounts to 5. Though I haven't yet tried adding more accounts, this improvement should take away some of the pain of transferring funds between Countrywide and other banks.

Lastly, a reader of PFStock expressed some concern about Countrywide Financial (NYSE: CFC), the parent company of Countrywide Bank. CFC stock has been buffeted over the past year by sub-prime concerns. Indeed, CFC is down over 50% from its 52-week high. And, I do understand the reader's concern. But actually, because Countrywide Bank is FDIC insured, this is not something that depositors need to worry about as long as they stay within the FDIC insurance limits.


Friday, October 5, 2007

Link Exchange

You can have your blog listed for FREE at PFStock. I am looking to add more blogs to my blogroll. If you have a bona fide personal finance blog, please Email me (my contact information is listed in the sidebar) about exchanging links. Note that I do not currently link to commercial, real estate, or multi-level marketing blogs.

Only personal finance blogs that are written by individual bloggers on a not-for-profit basis qualify for a free listing in the blogroll. Blogs and websites that do not qualify for a free listing may inquire about the low advertising rates offered for PFStock sponsors.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Business 2.0 = Fortune 1.0

I just received my last issue of Business 2.0 magazine. This post is a follow-up to my article about Business 2.0 going out of business. A note on the cover of the magazine answers my question about what will happen to the issues remaining in my subscription that have already been paid for. They will substitute one copy of Fortune magazine for every 2 paid copies of Business 2.0 remaining. There is also an option to request a refund if you are not happy with receiving Fortune as a substitute.


Monday, October 1, 2007

NetBank Closes Down

As of Friday (September 28) NetBank has been closed down, and the FDIC has now taken over the bank. According to the FDIC, "No advance notice is given to the public when a financial institution is closed." However, I have written extensively about NetBank, and readers of PFStock would have been given full advanced warning that NetBank was on the brink of closure.

To summarize the current situation, depositors with less than $100,000 at NetBank have their deposits fully insured by the FDIC, and their accounts will be transfered to to ING DIRECT. Depositors with over $100,000 may have a portion of their funds that are uninsured, and will lose half of the uninsured amount. Investors in NetBank stock should fully expect to lose ALL of their money. NetBank is essentially bankrupt at this point and stock investors do not usually recover any funds.

PFStock's coverage of NetBank began over a year ago on September 20, 2006, when I posted here that I was about to begin the process of withdrawing my money from NetBank and close my account with them. In that post, Sayonara NetBank, I referred to this process as "evacuating my money." There and in subsequent posts on PFStock, I cited deteriorating financial conditions at NetBank as one of my prime reasons for closing out my account. At that time, I conceded that NetBank was not likely to be forced into bankruptcy, but was wrong.

Over the course of the last year, financial results at NetBank continued to deteriorate. The company eliminated its dividend, and later ousted its CEO in October 2006. Even before this event, I had speculated that something fishy was going on at NetBank. And, I asserted that NetBank could no longer remain competitive with other banks in its online market space.

After a set of staggering losses, NetBank's independent auditor resigned. The stock was eventually delisted from Nasdaq, after it fell well below $1. In May 2007, NetBank made an agreement to sell a substantial portion of its remaining assets to privately held EverBank. This deal was supposed to have been completed by July, but it recently fell through. As recently as my September 10 posting, I speculated that the EverBank deal was in serious jeopardy. With the collapse of this deal, it became obvious that NetBank had exhausted all of its options, and was only be a matter of time before NetBank would be forced by government regulators to liquidate.

The NetBank bankruptcy saga has been an interesting ride. But as the story is nearing an end, this may likely be my last post about NetBank.

Further reading:

NetBank Continued 9/10/2007
NetBank Again 8/5/2007
NetBank's Demise 5/22/2007
The Decline and Fall of Internet-only Banks 12/1/2006
Unprofitable and Unstable, NetBank Ousts its CEO 10/3/2006
More on NetBank 10/2/2006
Sayonara NetBank 9/20/2006